Nov 11, 2010

Apache Lake - Alder Creek Wash (redux)

Last June, on hot Arizona summer day, I got up early and paddle down to Alder Creek on Apache Lake for a little exploration, so today I decided to do a little repeat of that adventure.
This time, I gotta sleep in a little bit later, so I didn't leave my house until 5:00. Two hours later I was parking at Crabtree Wash up at Apache Lake, and on the water by 7:30.

I had my eyes peeled as I scanned the north shore for big horn sheet, but I was denied any real wildlife this trip. Well except on my hike I stumbled up see a coati in a box canyon, but he bolted before I get my camera out.

Like past trips out on Apache Lake the morning winds were a little more than a gentle breeze, but it was blowing in the direction I was heading. As for the temps, it was probably about 45 degrees when I started paddling, as the sun was just coming up.

As I made my way down to Alder Creek Bay I heard exactly one boat, and he was behind me about 2 miles. So I pretty much had the west end of the lake to myself.

Once I got down to Alder Creek Bay, I noticed the lake level was down a slightly from my trip in June, and it kind of surprised me considering my October trip Canyon Lake had the highest water I had ever scene. The Apache Lake level was hardly noticeable, but it was down about a foot or two.

From Alder Creek Bay, I tucked my kayak away and grabbed my cameras and trekked up the creek bed, which soon transitioned into a box canyon. Really neat stuff. It didn't take long before I was up the creek high enough that the was actually water pooled up, and being fed by a spring.

I rambled up to the waterfall, and man is this a beautiful place.

I spent a lot of time filming the hiking portion of this trip, actually a little bit to much as I used up all my batter on my wide angle gopro camera. Drat! I wish I had enough battery for the waterfall, because the footage from my utter camera just can't capture the majesty of this place.

Once I came back down to my boat it was about 12:30, and it was very comfy out and the winds were done for the moment. So chowed down on some cold pizza and took a little mid trip siesta. After my nap, I noticed a few puffy white clouds were billowing over the cliffs above. No concern at that moment, but once I paddled out of Alder Creek Bay, into the main portion of the lake, I look back at where I had come from, and there were some big gray clouds quickly building on Four Peaks. Four Peaks, as the crow flies is about 7 miles away from the Alder Creek Bay. These clouds did concern me, 1) with a rain storm comes rain. Me getting wet isn't that big of deal, but considering my car was parked in a wash prone to flash floods was a little unnerving. 2) With a rain storm usually comes big winds. And about halfway back to the car the winds went from calm to really strong. Not only was it a headwind, but it was strong enough for white caps and chop. Drat. I hunkered down and paddle hard for about 45 minutes and kept looking over my shoulder for the storm, which was counter intuitive, considering the lake level winds were blowing from the east down the lake, but the peak level winds were blowing the clouds in from the north. I caught a few rain drops, but the storm was moving across from where I was a couple hours prior.

I got back to my car about 3:30 and felt secure no significant moisture was gonna land where I was at. Phew.

What a great day, and an adventure I look forward to repeating again, and again.

David Grayson said, "Adventure is not outside a man it is within."

Here is a little video of the day;

If you have the Google Earth on your computer, here is an interactive map of my tour route:

No comments: